Anachronist's Reviews > Whitechapel Gods

Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters
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Jun 29, 11

bookshelves: those-pesky-three-stars
Read from June 25 to 29, 2011

Synopsis:

Victorian London. The Whitechapel section has been turned into a mechanized, steam-driven horrific hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical god-like entities- Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. They have a virtually undestructible army of minions at their disposal, composed of people whose hearts have been replaced with coal furnaces and nerves and veins - with copper wiring. In short people turned into machines.

The rest of populace had had enough but the first time they were too weak to prevail - some years have passed since the Great Uprising and everything seemingly returned to the old order. However a few brave veterans of the Uprising have formed their own new Resistance-and are gathering for another attack. John Scared schemes to usurp Grandfather Clock's power while Oliver Sumner and other revolutionaries look to overthrow both gods for the benefit of humanity. Both sides have discovered a secret weapon that may finally free them-or kill them all...who will prevail this time?

What I liked:

· Steampunk at its best – reeking of metal, soot, oil and coal, almost tangible in its mechanical passion and glory. Sometimes the creatures like clickrats sent shivers down my spine.

· Some compelling questions are asked about humanity and technology. Very well.

· The main characters, Olivier and Missy, I found rather likeable (but I am not sure whether it was more pity than anything else...)

· The cover I find intriguing and fitting.

What I didn’t like:

· I found the book a bit too grim to be read in the summer, too neurotic and unnerving. Sometimes I didn’t feel like continuing reading. I do think this is the most gore I've ever seen in any Steampunk novel; it got downright bloody at times. There was also too little sense of humour to make up for it.

· The prose, especially at the beginning, wasn’t flowing smoothly enough to draw you into the narration and keep you interested.

· Mr. S.M. Peters has a lot to say on religion, philosophy and the horrors of the mind but sometimes those fragments overshadow the main action and heroes. It took me forever to figure out that Oliver was indeed the central character in the story. Why? Whitechapel Gods for an action-packed book about an uprising tends to get a little too abstract, especially towards the end (after all drug-induced dreams and hallucinations are not something you expect in a steampunk book).

· Some heroes and villains were a bit too generic.


Final verdict:

I like steampunk so this one I found still interesting - I must admit the world that S.M. Peters created here was original and a very well developed… I just wish it was a bit more cheerful. Definitely not a relaxing summer read.
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